Best Online Associate in Criminal Justice Programs

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The interdisciplinary field of criminal justice encompasses a network of government programs and agencies designed to deter criminal activities, prosecute criminal offenders and maintain social order and public safety nationwide. The components of criminal justice include law and law enforcement, fire protection, emergency management, information security and ethics. Criminal justice is one of the most popular fields of academic study; a recent poll by USA Today noted that ‘criminal justice and corrections’ is the sixth most common college major among U.S. undergraduates.

An associate degree in criminal justice will prepare students to succeed in this exciting, often challenging field. The curriculum typically includes coursework in law and ethics, criminal investigation, corrections and probation, juvenile justice and homeland security. A large number of programs also require students to complete an internship course, in which they will receive supervised onsite training from experienced professionals. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their associate degree in criminal justice online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of job opportunities after graduation. The asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule and study-from-home format are also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other responsibilities that could possibly interfere with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online associate in criminal justice and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Online associate in criminal justice programs usually offer a broad overview of law and law enforcement, the justice system and principles of forensics and detection. This comprehensive curriculum will prepare students for different career paths, and also introduce them to realities of working for a bureaucratic government agency. Internships and other onsite trainings are also useful; these courses enable students to apply the skills and knowledge they have gained in a real-world work setting.

WILL AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Associate online degrees in criminal justice offer a flexible alternative to traditional higher learning. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their home computer. Current educational technology also allows them to study on the move using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. For added convenience, online criminal justice students will usually be able to coordinate internships at locations within a reasonable commuting distance of their current residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY ASSOCIATE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE?

Job availability for criminal justice associate degree recipients will vary by their specific career goals. Many roles in law enforcement are attainable with an associate; however, these positions may require on-the-job training in firearm safety, CPR/first aid and other competency areas. Paralegals and legal assistants, on the other hand, are often hired with only an associate degree and certification is not normally required. Other professions in criminal justice include information security and cybersecurity specialists, forensic investigators and technicians, court reporters and probation officers.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ASSOCIATE PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online associate in criminal justice programs in the United States. If you are considering an online associate in criminal justice, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Pamlico Community College 72.30 1/5 85% Grantsboro, NC

Located in eastern North Carolina, Pamlico Community College offers a variety of academic and continuing education programs, including an associate degree in criminal justice online. The criminal justice technology program reflects the school's vision to provide accessible education and workforce training to nontraditional students, preparing them for successful careers as police officers, parole officers, state troopers, and other law enforcement and corrections officers. The curriculum focuses on corrections procedures, criminal law, community relations, investigative principles, and ethics. Essential courses include constitutional law, victimology, and counseling. Online courses are accessed through the Moodle learning management system. Pamlico is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus and shares courses and programs with other member institutions. Through a reality-based curriculum, students learn what it’s like to serve as a law officer, observe standard procedures in court, investigate crime scenes and collect evidence, and more. Distance learning resources include online tutoring, a virtual library with an online video collection and audio books, and career center resources. Students are required to take 23 courses to graduate.

Application requirements for the criminal justice associate degree online program include an official high school transcript. Depending on classes taken and grades earned, students may or may not be required to take a placement test to determine best-fit classes in English, math, and computer science. Pamlico offers distance learning that's accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is authorized to confer degrees in 23 U.S. states. North Carolina residents receive a discounted tuition. Pamlico offers tuition payment plans to help students budget finances.


Program overview
Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $76/credit (in-state), $268/credit out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 to 61

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Contact
Department phone: (252) 745-7349
Department email: mwillis@pamlicocc.edu (Michelle Willis Krauss, Vice President/Chief Academic Officer)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook

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2 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale 67.00 4/5 78% Fort Lauderdale, FL

Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser University is a private, nonprofit school that offers quality, self-directed education programs through its online division. Every program is reviewed by an advisory board that consists of experts in the field, faculty, and alumni, to ensure that curricula reflect the most up-to-date training in professional practices. The associate degree in criminal justice online is part of the school's flexible Blackboard learning platform, and the online course format promotes the sharing of diverse ideas through group discussions and occasional group work. Students complete 36 credit hours of general education courses and 24 hours of major coursework, which covers theories of criminology and criminal law, the basics of criminal investigations, legal foundations, and practical training in law enforcement procedures. There are no prerequisites for this accredited online associate degree in criminal justice. Graduates have a firm understanding of the structure and history of the American justice system and are prepared for entry-level jobs in the criminal justice field. An online career center prepares students for entry into the workforce with mock interviewing and an exclusive job-posting database. Potential applicants can chat with an online admissions counselor.

Applicants must supply either a high school transcript or GED diploma, and international students must provide evidence of graduation from a school comparable to a U.S. secondary institution. All transfer credits, with a least a minimum grade of C, are subject to approval by the dean of academic affairs. Transfer credit, usually only accepted from regionally-accredited institutions, may be granted for relevant courses taken at an accredited institution outside of the region. Students are required to complete at least 25% of the program requirements through Keiser. High academic performers may apply for the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society.


Program overview
Program Name: Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $440/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.75

Contact
Department phone: (888) 4-KEISER
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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3 Saint Leo University 63.20 3/5 86% Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo University, founded in 1889, has grown over the past century from a small Catholic school to a bustling higher education institution with over 16,000 students. The university’s associate degree in criminal justice online prepares students for careers in law enforcement and related fields. Students enrolled in online programs have access to a number of online resources, including tutoring and writing workshops. The criminal justice associate degree online has a 60-credit curriculum that offers a liberal arts foundation, followed by advanced study in the criminal justice field. Students complete foundational courses in writing, math, history, sociology, the creative arts, literature, and Biblical and spiritual topics. Major courses include introduction to homeland defense, substantive criminal law, and criminal justice ethics. Saint Leo University is one of the top military schools in the U.S. and has been providing criminal justice education to active military members for over 30 years.

First-time students must submit official high school transcripts or a GED score report. Any applicable exam scores, including the AP and CLEP, for prior credit evaluation and any documentation of professional training for potential program credit should also be submitted. Students first complete a series of self-paced starting point tutorials prior to beginning their online program. Students will also be asked to take assessment exams in math and English to determine proper placement. Transfer students can apply up to 64 qualifying credits toward their degree, and all credits are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the university’s registrar. Undergraduate students are offered a competitive per-credit tuition rate with no extra on-campus fees.


Program overview
Program Name: Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $360/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: 6 times per year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (888) 875-8265
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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4 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion 60.80 4/5 88% Marion, IN

Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion, founded in 1920 in the Wesleyan Church tradition, is a Christian college with the goal of preparing students to leave a positive impact on the world through a commitment to service. In addition to being the largest private school in Indiana, IWU is the largest member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Distance learners have access to free academic resources, like the online library’s digital databases and eBooks. The criminal justice associate degree online encompasses 60 credit hours of foundational and major coursework, such as criminology, modern police issues, homeland security, and more. A liberal arts foundation includes topics like writing, psychology, history, and religion. This associate degree in criminal justice online emphasizes development of strong communication skills, problem-solving of modern day criminal justice issues, and an understanding of emerging technologies in the field of homeland security. Students are assigned to small cohorts, which meet online one night each week. Average program completion time is 26 months. Students who have not yet earned their associate degree but who have earned between 36 and 59 credits may also consider IWU’s Bridge program, which leads to completion of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Associate students can earn up to 18 hours of prior learning assessment credit toward the program’s 60 required credit hours.

Applicants must complete an application and provide official high school and/or college transcripts if more than 30 credit hours have been earned at a regionally-accredited institution; there is no application fee. Students must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA in order to graduate. Students benefit from an affordable online tuition rate, with scholarships and other financial aid available to online learners.


Program overview
Program Name: Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $283/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: August 30, October 10, November 22, January 3rd, February 14, March 28, May 9, June 20

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (866) 468-6498
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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5 Central Georgia Technical College 59.60 1/5 49% Warner Robins, GA

Central Georgia Technical College, located in Warner Robins, is a member of the statewide technical college system. The school has more than 40 years of experience providing higher education and training programs and offers almost 200 programs that emphasize professional training for entry-level careers. This includes the online criminal justice associate degree. Delivered through the Blackboard platform, the criminal justice program requires 60 credit hours and includes a blend of foundational and major coursework. Occupational courses prepare students for careers in law enforcement and cover a wide range of theory-based and real-world topics, such as ethics and cultural perspectives in criminal justice, victimology, and emergency planning. All students complete either a three-credit criminal justice practicum or an internship. A wide range of core-based electives allow students to customize their professional degree path, with course options like criminal courts, hazardous materials awareness, and facility security. This accredited online associate degree in criminal justice does not result in certification of Georgia state officer status, however, students can pursue certification on their own through the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.

Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Homeschooled students are welcome to apply with submission of final progress reports that show date of graduation or a certified statement of school attendance. For purposes of placement in math and English, all potential students must also submit college-level exam scores taken within the last five years. Central Georgia will accept up to 75% of program credits from another qualifying post-secondary program.


Program overview
Department: Public Safety & Professional Services
Program Name: Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $89/credit (in-state), $178/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Contact
Department phone: (478) 988-6800
Department email:
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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6 Albany Technical College 59.30 1/5 59% Albany, GA

Albany Technical College, which began as a vocational school with less than 200 students, now enrolls over 5,500 full- and part-time students and is the eighth largest college in the state of Georgia. The law enforcement technology degree in criminal justice is one of 30 fully-online programs. Courses are delivered through Blackboard, and students have access to a number of helpful online tutorials and technological assistance. This criminal justice associate degree online requires completion of 60 credit hours in criminal justice theory and practical skills training. Online classes are asynchronous, but not self-paced. Students are expected to log in and complete lectures and other assignments three to five times each week. Courses include principles of law enforcement, community-oriented policing, and crime scene processing. Officer certification is not available through the program, but graduates are prepared for advancement or entry into successful careers as police officers, corrections officers, security guards, and related positions. Students can apply for and begin the associate degree in criminal justice online program in the fall, spring, or summer semester.

Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED certificate, as well as passing program entrance exam scores. The requirement for test scores is waived with qualifying SAT, ACT, or other college-level test scores. While not required for entry into the program, students must submit a satisfactory criminal background check in order to participate in a practicum, internship, or other experiential learning opportunity. Students can choose to attend full- or part-time. Qualifying students may be eligible for financial aid assistance through the Georgia Department of Labor or the Veterans Educational Assistance Program. ATC's website maintains a list of relevant scholarship opportunities available for current and transfer students. All ATC programs are accredited through SACSCOC.


Program overview
Program Name: Associate Degree in Law Enforcement Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $89/credit (up to 14 credits), $1,335/term (15+ credits)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: ACCUPLACER

Contact
Department phone: (229) 430-3500
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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7 Southern New Hampshire University 58.30 5/5 95% Manchester, NH

Southern New Hampshire University, located in the town of Manchester, has been a leader in nonprofit education since its founding in 1932. The university’s educational programs emphasize innovation and accessibility and are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. SNHU’s more than 200 distance learning programs enroll over 60,000 online students annually. The online associate degree in criminal justice allows students to conveniently pursue their career interests while opening doors for a variety of new positions in law enforcement, private security, and court administration. Students complete 60 credit hours in criminal justice theory, issues, and real-world practice, with classes including criminal law, judicial administration, and criminal justice research methods. Major courses also include an introduction to IT and success strategies for online learning. Courses are structured in eight-week terms, with six total terms offered per year. Students can begin the program every other month, starting in January. Students can transfer up to 45 qualifying college-level credits toward this accredited online associate degree in criminal justice.

Active-duty military members and their spouses receive a 30% discount off of SNHU’s low tuition rate, and application fees are waived for all online students. Students applying for financial aid are eligible for one of several merit and endowed SNHU scholarships, which are awarded each January. Distance learners also benefit from access to academic and wellness services, including writing and tutoring services, one-on-one career coaching, wellness resources, and 24-hour online technical support. Online students can connect with their peers and staff through SNHUconnect, an online student union and virtual lounge that promotes collaboration and networking.


Program overview
Program Name: Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: NEASC
Tuition: $320/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: September 4, October 30, January 8, March 5, May 7, July 2

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (888) 387-0861
Department email: enroll@snhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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8 Chaminade University of Honolulu 58.20 3/5 54% Honolulu, HI

Chaminade University of Honolulu, situated in the Kaimuki district, promotes values of service and character that are rooted in the Catholic tradition. The university’s online programs are designed for working adults and are taught by qualified faculty who are trained in teaching with technology. The online criminology and criminal justice degree provides the foundation for a successful career in law enforcement. Program focal areas include the criminal justice system, issues of race and gender in crime, criminal justice research, and crime scene investigation. Students complete a minimum of 60 credit hours, including 34 general education credits. Foundational courses span religion, English, math, social and natural sciences, and the fine arts. Concentration courses are delivered through the Canvas platform and include the juvenile justice system, foundations in criminology, and introduction to law. At least 15 credit hours must be completed through Chaminade, and 12 of those credits must be in major requirements. Students must earn at least a 2.0 in all courses to graduate with their online criminal justice associate degree.

An online technology helpdesk is available six days a week during scheduled hours. Distance learners also have access to free Smarthinking online tutoring services, digital library resources, and career preparation services. A streamlined applications process can be completed online in 15 minutes or less. Admission requirements include any official undergraduate transcripts. Chaminade offers online students an affordable tuition rate, with additional discounts for active duty, national guard, and reservist military members. An additional online technology fee is accrued for each course. Currently enrolled students may be eligible for one of Chaminade’s endowed scholarships.


Program overview
Department: Criminology and Criminal Justice
Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: WASC
Tuition: $380/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - May 1 ; spring - December 1
GPA: Minimum 2.5
Standardized tests: ACT or SAT

Contact
Department phone: (808) 735-4755
Department email: online@chaminade.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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9 Oconee Fall Line Technical College 55.30 1/5 55% Sandersville, GA

Located in Sandersville, Georgia, Oconee Fall Line Technical College guarantees that its students receive the education and training necessary for successful careers in law enforcement. If graduates find that the standard skills acquired fall short of any industry-specific task, the college provides further training at no extra cost. The school provides a range of programs taught by faculty trained in online instruction and skills development. The online criminal justice technology degree is an offering of the Georgia Virtual Technical Connection, a shared resource of Georgia's technical college network. This associate degree online in criminal justice is composed of 60 credit hours and emphasizes skill development in law enforcement technology. This includes law enforcement theories, constitutional law, and criminal procedures. All courses are accessed through the Blackboard learning management system, and students have access to an online new student orientation at anytime. Graduates are prepared for many careers, including corrections, police administration, security, and others.

As with other criminal justice online associate degree programs in Georgia, students who also want officer status certification must apply on their own through the POST council. Program start dates are offered each semester, and students can complete all requirements in six semesters. Any prior college credit will be evaluated for potential transfer eligibility. Applicants must be at least 16 years old and supply copies of highschool and/or college transcripts, as well as completion of a program entrance placement test. Students who submit qualifying college-level exam scores are waived from the entrance test requirement. Georgia residents may be eligible for one of several career grants or scholarships through the Georgia HOPE program.


Program overview
Program Name: Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $89/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits
Field education requirements: Externship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 6 semesters
Program start dates: Fall - August 28 ; spring - January 8 ; summer - May 21

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: Entrance placement test or ACT, CPE, SAT

Contact
Department phone: (478) 296-6197
Department email: kcorbin@oftc.edu (Kevin Corbin, Division Chair of Professional Services)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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10 Hodges University 55.00 3/5 47% Naples, FL

Hodges University's online programs provide students with the opportunity to gain valuable skills necessary to advance their careers, as well as a foundation that is easily transferable to a four-year program. The criminal justice associate degree online is a 60-hour program offered through the Nichols School of Professional Studies. Hodges’ suggested plan of sequenced study includes three courses per semester over a period of five semesters, or just under two years. The associate degree in criminal justice online curriculum is designed with input from law enforcement professionals in the field, including judges, attorneys, and parole officers. Courses are taught by adjunct faculty who are active professionals in the criminal justice field. Following a series of liberal arts courses, students complete major coursework in areas like communication in criminal justice, crime and delinquency, and survey of forensic science. Students also complete eight credits of criminal justice electives in an area that aligns with their career interests. Online learners have access to ProctorU services, which is required for all final exams.

Online criminal justice associate degree graduates are prepared for entry-level careers in law enforcement, as well as advanced study in areas like criminal justice and public administration. High school students or professionals interested in applying to the program must submit official transcripts and arrange for an entrance exam, which can be waived with qualifying SAT or ACT scores. The school's programs are available in all U.S. states, with the exception of Alabama, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Wisconsin.


Program overview
Department: Nichols School of Professional Studies
Program Name: Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $560/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Summer - May 11 ; fall - September 7

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (800) 466-8017
Department email: dpontzer@hodges.edu (Daniel Pontzer, Program Chair and Associate Professor)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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11 Odessa College 54.70 1/5 39% Odessa, TX

OC, a community college located in Odessa, Texas, was named as a finalist for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, one of the most prestigious awards that can be granted to a community college. The college offers online and offline courses.

Odessa's online criminal justice associate degree is offered as an associate in applied science degree, which can be transferred toward a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at many four-year colleges or universities. Courses include probation and parole, juvenile justice, and court systems and practices. The program can be completed in two years, after earning 61 credit hours. Courses are offered entirely online, with the exception of an internship course, which requires a work-based learning experience that lasts sixteen weeks. A hybrid program option is also available. Courses are provided in an asynchronous format and taught through Blackboard.

All incoming students are required to take the Texas success initiative assessment before enrolling. Students must also provide a high school transcript or GED equivalent. Transfer students must provide transcripts from any previously attended schools. Tuition discounts are provided for Texas residents and Odessa district residents. Odessa College accepts admission applications on a rolling basis. Distance learners have access to the online writing lab and Learning Resources Center, which provides general and STEM tutoring.


Program overview
Department: Criminal Justice
Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $261/credit (in-district), $393/credit (out-of-district), $639/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits
Field education requirements: Internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (432) 335-6505
Department email: tthomas@odessa.edu (Troy Thomas, Department Chair and Associate Professor)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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12 Fox Valley Technical College 53.80 2/5 56% Appleton, WI

Fox Valley Technical College has multiple locations throughout Wisconsin and focuses on providing high-tech educations. Their online school offers a criminal justice associate degree which prepares students for careers in law enforcement, corrections, and more. Classes include juvenile law, traffic law, and criminal procedures. Graduates are also prepared for advanced studies or entry-level careers. Students must complete 63 credit hours of online course work. Courses are taught asynchronously. The program takes two years to complete, and students have the option to attend part time or full time. Admission requires proof of GED completion or a high school transcript. Students must also take an academic skills assessment course which can be found on the the program website. Hybrid course options are available.

Transfer credit it offered to students who come in with relevant career experience. The program is also setup to help students easily transfer credits to four-year colleges and universities. Students who earn the degree are given priority for the Wisconsin Department of Justice Law Enforcement Office Certification program. Graduates are prepared for careers as corrections officers, police officers, public safety dispatchers, and more.

Online classes are offered at a discounted tuition rate, and Wisconsin residents receive a discount on course credit fees. Deadlines include: fall quarter, August; summer quarter, May.


Program overview
Department: Criminal Justice
Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $158/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 63 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall - August 24 ; winter - January 2

Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: Skill assessment

Contact
Department phone: (920) 735-5645
Department email: admissions@fvtc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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13 Stanly Community College 52.80 2/5 43% Albemarle, NC

Stanly Community College, located in Albemarle, North Carolina, has a variety of online associate degrees. The online criminal justice associate degree prepares students for entry-level careers in the field. Course topics include local, state, and federal law enforcement; judicial processes; corrections; and security services. Graduates are prepared to begin a bachelor's program, and credits are easily transferred.

The program is designed to take two years to complete, and students may take courses part-time or full-time. Classes are taught completely online in an asynchronous format. Online instructors can be reached through email and the online learning platform. Hybrid class formats are also available. Some courses involve interactive videos which require students to log on at specific times.

The criminal justice associate degree requires students to earn 74 credits to graduate. The program accepts transfer credit from previously attended institutions. Multiple certificates are available to complement the degree, including corrections, law enforcement, court procedures, and security loss/prevention. The basic law enforcement training is designed to provide a pathway into entry-level careers at the state, county, and municipal levels, or with private firms. Each concentration has different, specialized classes.

Students must show evidence of a high school diploma or GED certification. Transfer students must also provide transcripts from any previously attended colleges or universities. Tuition is discounted for residents of North Carolina, and certain fees are waived for online students.


Program overview
Department: School of Health and Public Services
Program Name: Associate in Applied Science of Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $76/credit (in-state), $268/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: ASSET or COMPASS

Contact
Department phone: (704) 991-0262
Department email: wboylen7436@stanly.edu (Max Boylen, Program Head)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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14 Eastern Kentucky University 51.50 2/5 55% Richmond, KY

Eastern Kentucky University is located in Richmond, Kentucky, and offers a variety of online programs. The school was also listed in the US News & World Report's Best Online Degree Programs in 2017, and is recognized for its outstanding accommodations for veterans. The Department of Criminal Justice offers several degrees, including a master’s in adult, juvenile and community corrections leadership, a bachelor’s degree in corrections and juvenile justice studies, and an associate degree in police studies. Distance learners receive access to an advising counselor to help make decisions about coursework and degree planning.

Students can complete the program in two years. EKU has been offering the police studies degree for 40 years, and it's one of the few programs in the nation dedicated to the police studies subfield of criminal justice studies. The curriculum tackles the contemporary challenges of modern law enforcement, including new technology, public opinion, and more.

The program is offered entirely online, with classes provided in an asynchronous format. Students may complete their studies at a part-time or full-time pace. Learners must earn 60 credit hours to graduate, which includes 27 major credits. Courses include introduction to criminal justice, social forces and policing society, ethical decisions and police, and more.

The program accepts transfer credits, but at least 30 credit hours must be completed through EKU. Tuition is $400 per credit hour. Students must submit high school transcripts and scores from the ACT or SAT. There is a rolling deadline for application submissions.


Program overview
Department: Police Studies Online
Program Name: Associate of Arts in Police Studies
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $409/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 64 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall - August 21

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - August 1
GPA: Minimum 2.5
Standardized tests: ACT or SAT

Contact
Department phone: (859) 622-7626
Department email: onlinedegrees@eku.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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15 University of Maine at Fort Kent 49.70 2/5 58% Fort Kent, ME

The University of Maine at Fort Kent, located in the St. John Valley, is committed to providing affordable education online and on its rural campus. The university offers a number of online programs, including an associate of arts in criminal justice. It's a two-year program that can be taken either full or part time. The degree prepares students with the theory and practice necessary to seek employment or advancement in the criminal justice system and with various law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, regional, and local levels. Students are also prepared to transfer to a four-year university.

Courses are offered asynchronously, although students may choose to compete the degree in a hybrid format which would require taking some synchronous format courses. The distance learning program utilizes Interactive Television, and compressed video technologies are used to deliver course content to students located at sites and centers throughout the state. The program offers courses ranging from criminology to constitutional law. Advisers are available to help students plan the best course sequence. The program also encourages students to take a variety of support courses in business and economics, although these are not mandatory. Students must earn 60 credit hours in order to obtain the degree.

Students must complete the online application, submit GED or high school transcripts, and complete the personal essay requirement. Maine residents receive a discounted in-state tuition rate. Former military, current military, and military family members may also qualify for in-state tuition rate.


Program overview
Department: Rural Public Safety Administration
Program Name: Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: NEASC
Tuition: $228/credit (in-state), $365/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (207) 834-7600
Department email: umfkadm@maine.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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16 Haywood Community College 49.20 2/5 38% Clyde, NC

Haywood Community College, located in Clyde, North Carolina, is committed to providing accessible and affordable education through its online and offline courses. It received the Military Friendly School award in 2017. The university offers a number of online programs including an associate in applied science degree in criminal justice technology.

The program is designed to take about two years to complete. Students can complete the curriculum at a part-time or full-time pace. Students learn common practices of the local, state, and federal law enforcement; judicial processes; corrections; and security services. The program also explores the role of the criminal justice system within society. Courses include corrections, introduction to cyber crime, and substance abuse. Students are prepared for entry-level law enforcement careers or advanced study at a university. Students must complete 72-73 credit hours in order to earn the degree.

Courses are offered completely online in an asynchronous format. The program can also be completed in a hybrid format. The distance learning program utilizes Moodle to deliver course content and offers Moodle training modules for new online students. The school also has a full-time distance learning staff that helps students throughout the semester.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Students must complete the online application and submit GED or high school transcripts. North Carolina residents receive a discounted in-state tuition rate.


Program overview
Department: Criminal Justice Technology
Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 72-73

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: ACCUPLACER

Contact
Department phone: (828) 627-2821
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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17 Southeastern Technical College 49.10 1/5 45% Vidalia, GA

Southeastern Technical College, located in Vidalia, Georgia, is committed to providing innovative and educational environments through traditional and distance education delivery methods. It was named Georgia’s top technical school in 2016. The university offers a number of online programs, including an associate degree in criminal justice technology.

The associate in criminal justice degree is designed as a five-semester program. Learners can complete the program at a full-time or part-time pace. The degree emphasizes a combination of criminal justice theory and practice application to prepare students for future law enforcement employment. Students are also prepared to transfer to a four-year program. Courses include criminal procedures, juvenile justice, and ethics and cultural perspectives for criminal justice. Students must earn 51 credit hours to graduate.

Courses are offered asynchronously. The program is offered in a hybrid format. The online learning program utilizes Blackboard to deliver course content. The school provides online support for managing the Blackboard technology. All online courses require one proctored event that will take place on one of the main campuses. Students who live more than 75 miles away from a campus may inquire about alternate arrangements.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and students are accepted into the program every semester. Students must complete the online application, submit GED or high school transcripts, and complete the online placement test.


Program overview
Program Name: Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $89/credit (in-state), $178/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 63 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 6 semesters

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (912) 538-3219
Department email: kraines@southeasterntech.edu (Karann Raines, Criminal Justice Technology Instructor)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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18 Northeast Community College 47.40 2/5 59% Norfolk, NE

Northeast Community College, located in Norfolk, Nebraska, is committed to providing affordable education in online and traditional formats. The school boasts a 99% employment rate for its graduates and offers competitively discounted tuition rates.The university offers a number of online programs, including an associate degree in criminal justice online.

The degree is designed to be completed in two years. Students may take the program at a full-time or part-time pace. Some classes are only offered during specific semesters. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, drawing on a variety of fields of analysis and practical experience. Graduates are prepared for careers in various law enforcement professions or advanced studies. Courses include criminal law, police and society, and communication skills in criminal justice. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours to earn the degree.

Courses are offered asynchronously. The program can also be taken in a hybrid format. The school provides online support for managing online learning. Online students are charged the same as traditional students.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and students are accepted into the program every semester. Students must complete the online application, submit GED or high school transcripts, and submit scores from either the ACT or SAT. Transfer students must also submit transcripts from any previously attended colleges or universities. All students must attend a new student registration event, although online students who are unable to be on campus may qualify for an alternative remote event.


Program overview
Department: Criminal Justice Law Enforcement
Program Name: Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $94/credit (in-state), $132/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall - August 22, spring - January 9

Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: ACT or SAT

Contact
Department phone: (402) 371-2020
Department email: help@northeast.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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19 Westmoreland County Community College 47.10 1/5 33% Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County Community College, located in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, has offered degrees since 1970. The school offers traditional in-person classes, distance learning centers, and entirely online courses. Online offerings include an associate of applied science degree in criminal justice.

The online associate in criminal justice degree is designed to be completed in two years. The program can be completed part time or full time. The degree provides a broad overview of criminal justice and encourages students to select minors that reflect their specific interests. Graduates are prepared for careers in various entry-level law enforcement positions or advanced studies. Courses include substance abuse and crime, white collar crime, multiculturalism and the criminal justice system, and criminology of terrorism. Students must earn 60 credit hours to graduate.

The program can be completed entirely online, and courses are taken asynchronously. A hybrid format is also offered. Students may complete the courses through their personal computers or at one of the the school's distance learning centers. The school utilizes Blackboard for its online content and provides access to an online student support center.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Students must complete the online application and submit GED or high school transcripts. Transfer students must also submit transcripts from any previously attended colleges or universities. In-state residents receive discounted tuition; Pennsylvania residents over the age of 60 receive a 50% discount on tuition.


Program overview
Department: School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Public Service
Program Name: Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: $124/credit (in-county), $248/credit (out-of-county), $372/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 62 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (724) 925-4000
Department email: webmaster@wccc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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20 Lanier Technical College 46.50 2/5 46% Oakwood, GA

Lanier Technical College, located in Oakwood, Georgia, serves as the foremost workforce development resource for northern Georgia. The school offers traditional, online, and hybrid courses. Online offerings include an associate degree in criminal justice.

The online associate in criminal justice degree is designed to be completed in two years. Students can complete the program at a full-time or part-time pace. Students learn about criminal justice theory and practical applications. Graduates are prepared for careers in various entry-level law enforcement positions or advanced studies. Courses include police officer survival, criminal courts, homeland security, community-oriented policing, and emergency planning. Students must complete 60 credit hours to earn the degree.

Courses are offered asynchronously and can be taken entirely online. The school utilizes Blackboard for its online content and provides access to an online student support center.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but there are priority deadlines for admissions and financial aid. Students must complete the online application and submit GED or high school transcripts. Students must also provide test scores from ACCUPLACER testing, SAT, ACT, CPE, COMPASS, or ASSET. Transfer students must submit transcripts from any previously attended colleges or universities. In-state residents receive discounted tuition, but must provide valid form of resident identification.


Program overview
Department: Criminal Justice Technology
Program Name: Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $89/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 6 semesters
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Summer - April 2 ; fall - June 30; spring - November 7
Standardized tests: ASSET, ACT, SAT, CPE, COMPASS, or ACCUPLACER

Contact
Department phone: (770) 533-7000
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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21 Forsyth Technical Community College 46.20 1/5 31% Winston Salem, NC

Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Forsyth Technical Community College, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, emphasizes flexible routes to gaining an education. The online programs reflect its mission to provide quality education by offering easily accessible courses with the flexibility of an asynchronous learning environment.

The day, evening, and online associate of applied science in criminal justice technology is focused on the systems and operations of criminal justice. The crux of the program examines subject areas such as criminology, criminal and constitutional law, and investigative principles. Students have the opportunity to study concepts of government, psychology, communications, computers, and more. There are law enforcement or corrections tracks available. Faculty have criminal justice or law enforcement experience. The curriculum – a blend of class, lab, and clinical work – is designed to be completed in five semesters, totaling 64 credits. The criminal justice associate degree online program emphasizes practical work and requires a 16-week internship that is completed through a local criminal justice agency at the student's location. The rest of the program is completely online.

Admission cycles for the online criminal justice associate degree are every semester. The free-of-charge application requires high school transcripts, a placement assessment, and supporting documentation for transferring credits. Students must have achieved a grade of "C" or above in transfer courses. Students who are completing basic law enforcement training may be eligible to receive credit for certain courses. The training must be accredited by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and the student must have also passed the Criminal Justice Commission’s comprehensive certification exam.


Program overview
Department: Criminal Justice Technology
Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $76/credit (in-state), $268/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 64 credits
Field education requirements: 16-week internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Contact
Department phone: (336) 734-7060
Department email: jbryant@forsythtech.edu (Kimberly Bryant, Director of Educational Partnerships)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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22 Lansing Community College 45.20 2/5 34% Lansing, MI

Based in Lansing, Michigan, Lansing Community College's eLearning Department is designed to accommodate its any students. The online learning programs are led by faculty with training in online teaching methods.

LCC offers a competitive online associate of arts in criminal justice that's designed for students who wish to transfer to a four-year program. Graduates of the associate degree in criminal justice online program qualify for an LCC transfer studies certificate of achievement. It indicates completion of the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) between two- and four-year institutions. A minimum 2.0 GPA in all courses is required to graduate and transfer.

The associate degree online in criminal justice curriculum is 60 credit hours and taught by faculty with active or previous experience in the field. This includes a minimum of 30 credits in general education courses, spanning English composition, humanities and fine arts, mathematics, natural sciences, and social science. The rest are required courses within the major, covering topics of crime causes and conditions, criminal law, and theory of patrol. Students will also take multiple elective courses. There are two areas of concentration available: corrections and law enforcement. Students may also elect to complete the Mid-Michigan Police Academy, an 18-week police training program.

LCC delivers courses through Desire2Learn and provides extensive resources for assistance with online learning. Students also have access to services such as academic advising and tutoring, online library databases, online support from librarians, and the Michigan Colleges Online program, which allows students to complete courses from other community colleges in the state.


Program overview
Department: Public Service Careers
Program Name: Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $206/credit (in-state), $309/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: Placement test, ACT or SAT

Contact
Department phone: (517) 483-5227
Department email: bakert3@lcc.edu (Tim Baker, Program Director)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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23 Northampton County Area Community College 44.30 1/5 41% Bethlehem, PA

Northampton Community College, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, values student success, which is evident in its graduate employment rate of 90%. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and offers online learning options for students in need of flexible and easily accessible programs. These are not self-paced, but offer convenience and individualized attention to students unable to participate in on-campus classes.

Students enrolled in the associate of applied science in criminal justice, one of NCC’s most popular programs, will earn a 63-credit degree designed for entry-level employment in the criminal justice system, professional advancement, and pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. The program is available fully online through Blackboard, and a full-time student taking 15 or 16 credits per semester can complete the program in four semesters. They can expect to take criminal justice associate degree online classes in subject areas such as the American legal system, juvenile justice, abnormal psychology, and criminal justice ethics. In their final semester, students will take a capstone course examining controversial issues in crime.

NCC accepts GED recipients, home schooled students of senior level education, and adults without a high school diploma who can demonstrate how they would benefit from an online criminal justice associate degree. Students outside of these criteria may also be assessed.

While general tuition and fees are based on residency, NCC has the lowest fees in the state and charges a flat fee for full-time students taking 12-18 credit hours. Students enrolled in the dual enrollment program pay the same regardless of location. NCC recommends that students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree consider the college’s dual admissions partnerships with DeSales University, Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Law Enforcement, and Moravian College.


Program overview
Department: Humanities & Social Sciences
Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: MSA
Tuition: $141/credit (Northampton County PA), $231/credit (Monroe County PA), $308/credit (Other PA County), $454/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 63 to 64

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (610) 861-5500
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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24 Surry Community College 41.70 2/5 46% Dobson, NC

Surry Community College, located in Dobson, North Carolina, has been providing quality education since 1964. Twenty percent of students are enrolled in fully online courses in eight areas of study.

The online associate of applied science degree in criminal justice technology is 65 credit hours and provides students with criminal law and procedural training within the context of modern society. Over four semesters, students explore ethical issues, race relations, social problems, law enforcement operations, court procedures, and forensic psychology. The associate degree in criminal justice online program also offers courses in humanities and fine arts. The degree emphasizes juvenile justice, criminal and constitutional law, community relations, and more. Graduates are prepared for careers as police officers, deputy sheriffs, detention center officers, state troopers, parole officers, and more.

SCC has an open-door admissions policy. New students of the criminal justice online associate degree may be required to attend campus to complete online placement testing. Students with transferrable college-level coursework, current SAT scores, or a previous associate or bachelor’s degree are exempt. Only courses with a grade of "C" and above are eligible for transfer, but they can be from any institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.


Program overview
Department: Public Services
Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $76/credit (in-state), $268/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 65 credits
Field education requirements: Work-based learning

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: ACCUPLACER, ACT or SAT

Contact
Department phone: (336) 386-3312
Department email: burtonm@surry.edu (Debbie Burton, CIS Director/System Administrator)
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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25 Truckee Meadows Community College 39.80 2/5 37% Reno, NV

Located in Reno, Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College specializes in “inspiring life-changing growth through learning.” TMCC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The school strives to promote learning environments that are diverse in thought and allow for creativity and innovation, utilizing distinct evidence-based approaches to assess student progress and guide curriculum. The online programs are part of the school's WebCollege program, whose synchronous online classes facilitate degree attainment by providing accessible and flexible instruction.

The online associate of arts in criminal justice was designed as a standalone degree for a career in law enforcement and related areas or to transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno. Graduates of the accredited online associate degree in criminal justice satisfy general education requirements at UNR. Graduates have a strong working knowledge of criminal justice laws and procedures, crime scene investigation, and criminal trial processes. The core curriculum covers topics such as corrections, legal research, administration of justice, and substance abuse. Students must also satisfy course requirements such as diversity, U.S. and Nevada constitutions, and a foreign language. The program takes four semesters to complete. TMCC also offers an associate of applied science in criminal justice with a law enforcement emphasis.

Students must have graduated high school or its equivalent. Distance learners can complete the orientation online. While earning their associate degree in criminal justice online, students can assess a host of services, such as financial mentoring, tutoring in core academics, and a job board. All services are included in tuition and fees. Through the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, students from western states qualify for reduced tuition rates, and distance learners from other states may also be eligible by request.


Program overview
Department: Criminal Justice
Program Name: Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accrediting body: NWCCU
Tuition: $92/credit (in-state), $192/credit (out-of-state)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall - August 28 ; spring - January 22 ; summer - May 29, July 9


Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: ACCUPLACER, ACT or SAT

Contact
Department phone: (775) 673-7111
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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Some online criminal justice associate degree programs allow students to develop a concentration in a specialized area. While course and curriculum details tend to differ between schools, there are several educational tracks commonly offered through criminal justice programs across the United States. Most are designed to prepare students for specific careers while others are tailored to prepare learners for further education.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Concentration Description Careers this concentration prepares for
Corrections This concentration focuses on the role of the correctional system in relation to the criminal justice system as a whole. Coursework covers topics such as incarceration, probation, and parole, along with courtroom procedures and recent innovations in crime prevention and personal security. Corrections Officer; Corrections Dispatcher; Parole Officer
Law enforcement Coursework focuses on criminal law and procedures, investigations, and constitutional law. Students learn the fundamentals of criminology, and how these concepts can be applied in the community to prevent crime. Curricula may address topics related to homeland security, cybercrime, and forensic detection. Some programs may include a weapons training component. Law Enforcement Officer; Security Officer; Loss Prevention Expert; Statistic Researcher in criminal justice fields
Forensic science Students on a forensic science track gain the knowledge necessary to assess and process crime scenes. In addition to courses like crime scene photography and accident investigation, students learn the basic scientific skills required to succeed in a forensic laboratory setting. Students may be expected to complete an internship or work-study program. Forensic Science Technician; Crime Scene Investigator/Photographer; Records Officer

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Although course selections vary from school to school, some subjects are integral to the study of criminal justice. Variations on the following courses are frequently offered by online criminal justice associate degree programs.

  • Quantitative methods in criminal justice: This course provides an overview of common methods used by criminologists to research the causes and distribution of crime. Lectures cover primary methods of data acquisition and analysis, as well as challenges introduced by social relations and economic factors.
  • Criminological theory: Designed to provide students with a broad foundation in the integral concepts of criminology, this course describes the various schools of thought that have contributed to modern criminological theory. Topics covered in this course are crucial for anyone pursuing a career in law enforcement or forensic science.
  • Criminal justice ethics: A must for future law enforcement officers, students can expect to learn the code of ethics that defines the behavior of all police professionals. Coursework details ethical methods of problem solving and conflict resolution, stressing the importance of honor and integrity in the field.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE?

While it takes most learners around two years to complete their criminal justice associate degree online, several factors can affect program length and completion time. Many schools provide the option of studying part-time, for example, which may extend the duration of a course or program. However, the biggest factor influencing degree length is program pacing.

Featuring accelerated courses and lenient deadlines, self-paced, or asynchronous programs allow students to study and complete assignments without requiring their online presence at specific times. Ideal for busy individuals, self-paced courses can be completed quickly. Online criminal justice associate degree students in cohort programs begin and end classes with the same group of people. Students may be expected to log on at designated times, and deadlines are typically stricter. Assignments and projects often require collaboration between group members. Following a precise schedule, cohort programs often take more time to complete.

Not all criminal justice online associate degree programs are created equal. To ensure that you receive the highest quality education possible, it’s important to seek programs from accredited schools. The accreditation process ensures that a school is operating according to standards set by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Institutions may be regionally or nationally accredited, depending on the body evaluating them. Regional accreditation is generally applied to nonprofit, academically oriented colleges, while for-profit vocational schools are often nationally accredited.

For students who are interested in entering a bachelor’s program after earning their criminal justice associate degree online, finding a regionally accredited school is crucial. While nationally accredited schools will accept credits from regionally accredited ones, the opposite is generally not true. Most graduate programs follow similar practices. A degree from a regionally accredited institution provides many more opportunities for further education than its national counterpart.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a quality associate degree in criminal justice online from a nationally accredited institution. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes all accredited schools as legitimate. While the DOE doesn’t accredit institutions, it reviews accrediting agencies to ensure that they meet federal standards. All agencies are monitored by the DOE, and undergo review periodically. CHEA also oversees accrediting organizations from a non-governmental perspective, and provides the public with information about accreditation’s role in protecting students. You can find a list of accredited institutions on the DOE’s website, or search for schools on CHEA’s extensive database.

Job Placement: Associate in Criminal Justice

The demand for qualified professionals is quite high in law and law enforcement, emergency management, homeland security and other criminal justice-related fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that most legal occupations for associate degree-holders — including police officers and detectives, paralegals, legal assistants, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists — will grow by 4% to 8% between 2014 and 2024. This industry growth will result in thousands of new jobs. Additionally, jobs in the cutting-edge field of forensics are also on the rise. The number of forensic science technicians, for example, is expected to increase 27% over the next decade.

Unemployment rates in criminal justice are linked to areas of specialization. The following table features five criminal justice professions that were included in the ‘Best Jobs‘ ranking published by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

Profession Unemployment Rate
Patrol Officer 1.0%
Lawyer 1.1%
Paralegal 2.8%
Information Security Analyst 3.9%
Security Guard 8.0%

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Generally speaking, most jobs in law and law enforcement, information security and other criminal justice fields have unemployment rates lower than 4.0%. Comparatively, the national unemployment rate for all occupations currently sits at 4.7%.

Earning a Living

According to the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, students who earn an associate degree in criminal justice earn median annual salaries of $31,100 during the first five years of their career and $46,000 after a decade on the job. This represents a 10-year growth rate of nearly 48%. The report also found that those with an associate in criminal justice administration earn median salaries of $36,800 and $50,200 at the five- and 10-year marks, respectively.

How do these two fields stack up against other areas of study in terms of earning potential for new graduates? The table below features projected earnings for six related academic fields.

Associate Degree Field of Study Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Fire Science $34,700 $56,600
Legal Studies $32,300 $51,300
Criminal Justice Administration $36,800 $50,200
Law Enforcement $34,000 $50,200
Legal Assistant Studies $33,400 $46,300
Criminal Justice $31,100 $46,000

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

Another important consideration for criminal justice degree-holders is specific job title. Salary expectations will strongly vary between different positions; other potential factors include employer size, certification level, experience and city/state of employment. The next table looks at salary projections for five of the most common occupations in criminal justice.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Police Officers $43,146 $51,046 $55,662 $61,218
Police Detectives $50,000 $52,000 $63,000 $69,000
Probation Officers $35,057 $39,926 $45,742 $58,590
Paralegals $38,734 $46,626 $51,154 $53,194
Forensic Scientist $47,000 $59,000 $63,000 $69,000

Source: PayScale

All five occupations listed in the table experience salary growth of at least 37% after 20 years in the workforce. Probation officers reported the highest growth rate: a 67.1% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career phases. Forensic scientists placed second with a 20-year growth rate of 46.8%, followed by police officers with 41.9% growth.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with an associate in criminal justice will be qualified for dozens of entry-level positions, although individual eligibility will also depend on their areas of specialization. Four of the most popular careers in criminal justice are outlined below.

Police and Detectives: Police officers and detectives safeguard public safety. Officers are primarily responsible for protecting human lives, property and natural resources through active patrolling and law enforcement practices. Detectives are mid- to top-level law enforcement officials who investigate different crimes and, in many cases, arrest the perpetrators. These professionals also collect evidence, interview people linked to crimes that have been committed, write police reports and testify during trials and other criminal proceedings.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants: Paralegals and legal assistants provide supportive services for practicing attorneys. Their day-to-day duties include researching case studies, composing legal documents, formally requesting affidavits and other legal forms, preparing lawyers for court appearances and organizing client records.

Forensic Science Technicians: Forensic science technicians collect material evidence at crime scenes, and then perform a series of tests and analyses on each piece of evidence to help investigators apprehend guilty parties. Their time is neatly divided between crime scenes and laboratories, and they must be skilled at using different lab tools and equipment.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists: Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work directly with probationers, or individuals who have been convicted of criminal offenses. They monitor their clients to ensure they do not reoffend, and may also meet with them to discuss employment opportunities and rehabilitation programs.

Profession Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Police and Detectives $60,270 4% (33,100 jobs)
Paralegals and Legal Assistants $48,810 8% (21,200 jobs)
Forensic Science Technicians $56,320 27% (3,800 jobs)
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $49,360 4% (3,300 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to criminal justice is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for criminal justice professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • National Association of Police Organizations: NAPO was founded in 1978, and today represents roughly 241,000 officers and detectives in more than 1,000 law enforcement units. Members receive invitations to three annual conferences, as well as continuing education opportunities.
  • National Association of Legal Assistants: NALA is a nonprofit organization representing more than 18,000 paralegals, both individual members and employees of member affiliates. The association offers two certifications for paralegals, as well as online webinars, job leads and complimentary issues of the Facts & Findings academic journal.
  • American Probation and Parole Association: APPA represents probation and parole personnel working with criminals and juvenile offenders. The organization’s website features an extensive online resource library, as well as links to online and onsite training programs.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.